Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01

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Online master's in behavioral psychology programs trigger brain science sleuths' synapses with theories about the human mind for practice nurturing better individual habits. The American Psychological Association notes that the popularity of psychology master's degrees has grown rapidly from 18,000 to 28,000 since 2003. Behavioral psychology master's online have 24/7 formats to easily study the work of B.F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, and others for analyzing people's stimuli responses. This is useful because the National Survey of Children's Health found that 3.5 percent of youth have diagnosed behavioral conduct problems. These figures are likely low since one in 10 people with oppositional defiant disorder are medically treated. Behavioral therapy can address diverse conditions from anxiety to ADHD and autism, which affects 3.5 million Americans according to Autism Society. Choosing an online behavioral psychology master's opens doors for post-grads to spark positive changes in social functioning.


To celebrate National Autism Awareness Month this April, the Grad School Hub staff has endeavored to connect future intervention therapists with flexible, cheap behavioral psychology master's online options. We first used the U.S. Department of Education's NCES College Navigator to input search terms that included "behavior," such as behavioral science and applied behavior analysis. Checking the box for distance education left us with 27 schools that were further narrowed by separating master's degrees from certificates. Next, we used Google to locate additional psychology-based behavior master's that weren't related to special education departments. Our last move was ordering the programs in descending order based on the 2017-18 average graduate in-state tuition without fees. Here are the 10 most affordable master's in behavioral psychology online degrees billing under $25,000 annually that focus on discovering patterns in human actions.

Ranking Low-cost Online Behavioral Psychology Master's

10. Bay Path University

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Online

Longmeadow, MA


Average Graduate Tuition: $23,317 per year

Labeled a "College of Distinction" in 2017, Bay Path University is a private, coeducational graduate school that's located atop a 62-acre Springfield Metro campus with the Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center to welcome 1,351 post-grad Wildcats into 27 programs face-to-face and on Canvas. Bay Path is proclaimed America's 369th best psychology school on Niche, 122nd top liberal arts institution by Washington Monthly, and 483rd best value in Money magazine. The BACB-verified Graduate College launched the MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Online with financial aid like the $5,000 Town of Longmeadow Scholarships. Chaired by Dr. Susan Ainsleigh, the 36-45 credit curriculum offers optional Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Research specializations while mastering behavioral assessment methodologies. Asynchronous, eight-week Bay Path courses dive into topics like Behavior Change Procedures and Ethical Practice with 1,500 supervised fieldwork hours integrated.

9. Simmons College

Online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis

Boston, MA


Average Graduate Tuition: $20,988 per year

Hosting the Contemporary Developments in Behavior Analysis Conference since 2009, Simmons College is a private, coeducational graduate school adjacent to Merck Laboratories that expands beyond its 13-building Boston campus to teach over 4,000 post-grads from 36 states with 215 full-time faculty. Simmons is crowned America's 19th soberest college by The Princeton Review, 228th top psychology program on Niche, and 109th best value in Money magazine. Besides its Neuroscience and Behavior B.S., the College of Arts and Sciences delivers the ABAI-accredited Online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis to foster measurable life changes. The 40-credit, non-GRE program directed by Dr. Russell Maguire accepts $35 applications until May 1st, August 1st, or December 15th to form cohorts of 15. Interactive online courses like Single-Subject Research Design, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Skinner's Theories include 750 hours of mentored practice.

8. Florida Institute of Technology

M.A. Professional Behavior Analysis Online

Melbourne, FL


Average Graduate Tuition: $16,128 per year

Publishing Psychology Science Minute for eight years, Florida Institute of Technology is a private, high-tech Gulf Coast research hub established in 1958 that's budgeting $200 million to instruct 2,822 post-grad Panthers at its 130-acre subtropical campus with the Scott Center for Autism Treatment and online via Canvas. FIT is declared America's 202nd top psychology school by the U.S. News & World Report, 330th best college on the Social Mobility Index, and 171st best master's institution in Washington Monthly. The College of Psychology and Liberal Arts houses the M.A. Professional Behavior Analysis Online that boasts 92 percent BACB certification success. Coordinated by Dr. Jose Martinez-Diaz, the 45-credit, science-informed curriculum begins four times yearly with live, virtual courses from Decreasing Problematic Behavior to Conceptual Analysis of Behavior. Practicum is included every eight-week term at 140 approved sites globally before the 150-question final exam.

7. National University

Online Master of Arts in Human Behavior

San Diego, CA


Average Graduate Tuition: $14,976 per year

Partnered with Behavioral Health Works in Garden Grove since 2014, National University is a private, nonprofit WSCUC-accredited Yellow Ribbon institution that's citing $263 million revenue by training 11,820 post-grads at 28 West Coast campuses and online via Blackboard Learn. NU was chosen America's 95th best online graduate school by the U.S. News & World Report, 358th most diverse college on Niche, and 221st most popular psychology program on College Factual. Headed by Dr. Charles Tatum, the Online Master of Arts in Human Behavior within the College of Letters and Sciences accepts $60 applications year-round from candidates achieving GPAs over 2.0. The 45-unit curriculum involves taking one, four-week course like Creative Leadership, Stages of Adult Development, Issues in Sexuality, and Behavior Change monthly before an APA-style integrative project. Please note there's a hybrid, BACB-approved Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis too.

6. Capella University

Master of Science in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization Online

Minneapolis, MN


Average Graduate Tuition: $14,365 per year

Recognized for meeting the BACB 4th Edition Task List in 2014, Capella University is a private, for-profit competency-based education institute headquartered in Sperling's sixth most fiscally fit city to offer 155 online specializations for 37,223 adults at an average age of 39. Capella was judged America's 37th best small company by Forbes, 103rd most focused psychology school on College Factual, and second top producer of minority graduates in Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Administered by Dr. Weston Edwards, the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences has a Master of Science in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization Online that's HLC accredited. With a 10 percent military discount, the 55-unit, non-thesis curriculum prepares behavior coaches for licensed treatment work. Online 10-week courses, including Intervention Support and Quantitative Design, are blended with one year of practica and a capstone project.

5. University of Kansas Edwards Campus

Online Masters in Applied Behavioral Science

Overland Park, KS


Average Graduate Tuition: $9,716 per year

Home to the Center for Autism Research and Training (CART) since 2008, the University of Kansas Edwards Campus is a public, regional branch with an economic impact of $400 million that's produced over 8,000 graduates online via Blackboard or at its 30-acre Johnson County location. Kansas is designated America's 50th best psychology college by the U.S. News & World Report, 87th top university on Plexuss, 102nd best institution in Washington Monthly, and 58th best ROI school on PayScale. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences has an ABAI-accredited Online Masters in Applied Behavioral Science overseen by Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed. Bragging about its 100 percent BCBA certification rate, the 30-credit degree trains scientist-practitioners for producing empirical-based, effective solutions. Online 700-level courses like Principles of Behavior and Organizational Behavior Management begin after a Skype pro-seminar, integrate 750 fieldwork hours, and end with thesis work.

4. Purdue University Global

Master of Science in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Online

Davenport, IA


Average Graduate Tuition: $9,432 per year

Affiliated with Behavior Modification Solutions ABA, Purdue University Global is a private, for-profit HLC-accredited institution that's built upon Stanley H. Kaplan's vision to educate 52,018 adults with 33 clubs, including Autism Speaks, online via Canvas and at 14 ground campuses. Purdue Global was applauded for America's 73rd most popular psychology program on College Factual, eighth top online schooling by Super Scholar, and 14th highest enrollment in the NCES College Navigator. The School of Social & Behavioral Sciences created the Master of Science in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Online to teach the strategies for empowering the developmentally disabled. Organized by Dr. Julee Poole, the 60-75 credit program offers non-thesis or thesis tracks with at least one semester of practicum. Online courses like Behavioral Measures, Lifespan Development, Applied Statistics, and Clinical ABA Applications have a 21:1 student-professor ratio.

3. St. Cloud State University

Online Applied Behavior Analysis (M.S.)

St. Cloud, MN


Average Graduate Tuition: $7,668 per year

Bestowed the Insight into Diversity Higher Education Excellence Award five times since 2012, St. Cloud State University is a public, civic-engaged MNSCU system teachers college that's budgeting $236 million to welcome 1,832 post-grad Huskies into 60+ majors either on D2L Brightspace or at the 100-acre Beaver Islands campus. SCSU was placed America's 206th top public universityiny Forbes, 252nd best value on College Factual, and 149th best master's institution in Washington Monthly. Award a $1 million RSA Grant, the ABAI-accredited Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy Department has an Online Applied Behavior Analysis (M.S.) with a 96 percent certification rate. The competitive, 45-credit program led by Dr. Benjamin Witts increases the therapeutic aptitude of students with minimum 2.75 GPAs. Online courses like Behavioral Foundations of Autism Treatment are applied with 750-hour clinical internships at 120+ agencies and a thesis or exam capstone.

2. University of Southern Maine

MS in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis Online

Portland, ME


Average Graduate Tuition: $7,074 per year

Linked to 31,409 LinkedIn alumni, including Simon M. Hamlin, Kate Chappell, and Kevan Jones, the University of Southern Maine is a selective public, three-site higher learning hub based in Portland that's grown since 1878 to support 994 post-grad Huskies in eight divisions with eLearning available. USM is deemed America's 536th most popular psychology school on College Factual, 299th best master's education in Washington Monthly, and 636th top faculty by Niche. Located in Bailey Hall, the CAEP-accredited School of Education & Human Development awards the MS in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis Online and funds like $3,000 Graduate Studies Scholarships. Directed by Dr. Jamie Pratt, the 36-credit, two-year program fosters behavioral skill acquisition training for a 78 percent BCBA pass rate. Submit the $25 application by May 1st or December 1st to begin online courses like Physical Bases of Behavior that combine with 1,500 supervised practice hours.

1. McNeese State University

Online Master of Arts in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Lake Charles, LA


Average Graduate Tuition: $5,703 per year

Known for its Kay Dore Counseling Clinic's Autism Program, McNeese State University is a public, Carnegie-classified master's research institution established in September 1939 that's reaping Louisiana's highest ROI for 665 post-grad Cowboys and Cowgirls at its 800 acres in Lake Charles or online via Moodle. MSU was recognized for America's 480th best psychology value on College Factual, 553rd best professors by Niche, and 184th top graduation rate in Washington Monthly. Chaired by Dr. Dena Matzenbacher in Farrar Hall, the Burton College of Education's Department of Psychology grants the Online Master of Arts in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. The 55-credit, BACB-approved program prepares licensed community practitioners for studying factors influencing client actions. Graduates paying our list's lowest price join the McNeese SAMBA while completing eight-week online courses like Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment that stipulate 800 internship hours.

Other Master's in Behavioral Psychology Online Degree Offerings

Northeastern University

Online Applied Behavior Analysis MS

Average Graduate Tuition: $23,408 per year

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

M.A. in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $27,048 per year

Drexel University

Online MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Average Graduate Tuition: $33,156 per year

Which Careers Benefit From Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology Degrees?

Spending 1.5 to four years on behavioral psychology master's online study can qualify for jobs from mental health clinics and schools to prisons and research labs. Master's graduates can work independently as certified behavior analysts, but PhDs are needed for licensed psychology practice and university faculty positions. Expertise gained could improve doctoral admission chances in various disciplines, including behavioral neuroscience, clinical science, developmental psychology, social psychology, animal behavior, and evolutionary psychology. Yet the following are four sample job descriptions available immediately following masters in behavioral psychology online programs.

Applied Behavior Analyst- ABA therapy, autism's most common treatment method, has been used since the 1960s according to Kennedy Krieger Institute for 25-40 hours of weekly interventions that positively reinforce good behaviors. Certified BCBAs with online masters in behavioral psychology execute assessments, observe interactions, create evidence-based plans, model apt actions, integrate new tactics, and document goal progress.

Psychological Associate- Forgoing a PhD could still qualify master's in behavioral psychology online students for entry-level state certifications, such as the Texas State Board of Examiners‘ Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) credential. Here practitioners perform intake interviews, plan behavioral supports, administer assessments, score screening results, observe counseling sessions, assist with behavioral research, and handle clerical needs.

Behavioral Disorder Counselor- Ranked 100th among the U.S. News & World Report‘s best jobs, this cheap behavioral psychology master's online path involves giving support to children or adults burdened by disruptive behavior trends. Behavioral disorder counselors evaluate mental health, develop therapeutic treatments, outline achievable goals, develop social skills, identify triggers, teach coping strategies, and strengthen relationships.

Animal Behavior Specialist- The World Health Organization records nearly 4.5 million dog bites each year in the U.S. alone, so online behavioral psychology master's grads can consider consulting with furry, four-legged clients too. Animal behavior specialists work with several species to assess behavioral challenges, notice aggressive symptoms, customize interventions, train caregivers, collaborate with veterinarians, and conduct scientific studies.

How Much Do Behavioral Psychology Master's Online Graduates Earn?

Selecting cheap behavioral psychology masters is advisable because human services jobs can reap less earning potential than the median graduate monthly salary of $4,772 on Pew Research. Perhaps that's why PrepScholar named psychology the eighth worst major with an average pay of $53,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists treating behavioral issues earn $78,690 on average. Behavioral disorder counselors make a mean annual wage of just $44,160. Family therapists snag median income of $49,170. Correctional treatment specialists correcting inmate behavior are compensated $50,160. On PayScale, Board Certified Behavior Analysts receive a median wage of $57,149. Other annual averages include $55,250 for animal behaviorists, $81,830 for organizational behavior consultants, $102,059 for clinical supervisors, and $49,000 for autism specialists.

What is the Job Outlook With an Online Behavioral Psychology Master's?

Earning a behavioral psychology online master's won't blossom as many opportunities as PhDs, but there are good hiring prospects. That's likely because the DSM-5 shows half of Americans will experience mental illness and better awareness is improving diagnosis rates. Employment of psychologists is expected to rise by 14 percent for 23,000 new jobs by 2026 according to the Department of Labor. Much faster-than-average growth of 23 percent is projected for behavioral disorder counselors. Family therapists will see jobs numbers hit 51,200 this decade for 23 percent growth. Need for psychological technicians will jump by 6 percent. Burning Glass reports that job postings for BCBAs have doubled in 18 states too. The American Psychological Association recognized California, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and the District of Columbia for the highest job concentrations. Online master's in behavioral psychology courses can be accessed anywhere to sharpen therapeutic skills for low unemployment at 1.8 percent.

GSH Staff

April 2018

This concludes our list of the 10 most affordable online master's in behavioral psychology for 2018.